On January 6, 2016, The New York Public Library enhanced access to all public domain items in its Digital Collections so that everyone has the freedom to enjoy and reuse these materials in almost limitless ways (read more about the collection and the ways you can use it here).
The images are browsable, searchable, and many are organized into collections.
The thousands of photos in the Farm Security Administration collection are particularly fascinating.
If you want to argue the case for plant science research, Dorothea Lange‘s poignant portraits of drought refugees are unbeatable. The Farm Security Administration collection also includes interesting and archival photos of farms, crops and agricultural research with which to enliven your presentations.
Another collection features images including full-color drawings from several herbals published across a span of hundreds of years, Hortus Romanus juxta systems Tournefortianum Paulo, and another collection of drawings of medicinal plants. There is also a collection of drawings of plants from the Chelsea Physic Garden, in Elizabeth Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal, Containing Five Hundred Cuts of the Most Useful Plants, Which Are Now Used in the Practice of Physick (1739). You’ll also find plants pressed by Henry David Thoreau, and a collection of all things related to tobacco.
Stereographs showing late 19th century life, including plant life, are also featured in the digital collection. Stereographs are cards printed with two images taking at slightly different angles that when viewed through a stereoscope reveal a three dimensional image. If you don’t have a stereoscope, a similar effect can be observed by flicking back and forth between the two images, as shown in this animated GIF. There are hundreds of stereographs , many linked to animated GIFs, in the collection to explore and embed.
GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator
Remember, these images are free to use without restriction. So whether you give lectures, write blog posts and science-communication articles or just like to have cool images for your Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook collections, have fun exploring and sharing these public domain images.